Kids Gourd Birdhouse

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Early Native American kids hung gourds in the tree branches for the birds. Birdhouse gourds are the perfect size for swallows, wrens, and chickadees, hung in a tree or under an overhanging roof 10 feet off the ground where it will get some sun. Birds eat many garden pests and are wonderful partners for an organic veggie garden.The gourds should be hung in early spring and the bird’s entrance should face away from the wind. We planted our gourds In the Kids Educational Garden at Las Flores Community Garden in June and harvested them in October.  To create a Gourd Birdhouse, kids can soak completely dried gourds in a solution of ¼ cup bleach to a gallon of water for ½ hour. Kids can wear rubber gloves and use a scrub brush to get them very clean. Rinse them and dry them thoroughly. A teacher or parent can drill small holes an inch from the top of the gourd for the wire to go through for hanging, 3 or 4 small drainage holes in the lowest part of the gourd, and a larger hole for the bird’s entrance. The entry hole needs to be along the outer most curve of the gourd, 4” to 6” above the bottom, pointing straight out. Draw a hole 1 ½ inches across and 2 ½ inches high for swallows or 1 ¼ inch for wrens. Kids can completely clean out the insides of the gourd with a long-handled spoon and slip through a hanging wire. Using their imaginations, kids can paint and decorate the gourd and hang it inside to dry. Kids can plant berry bushes that birds like to eat and create a bird bath near the tree where they hang the gourd. Looking from a favorite window, it is fun for kids to watch the birds build a nest in their birdhouse gourd.

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